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Housing policy set to dominate London Mayoral elections

Lord Bob Kerslake last week described London’s housing shortage as one of Britain’s “biggest public policy failures of the past 50 years.”

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lord-bob-kerslakeThe chronic shortage of residential properties in London is one of this country’s “biggest public policy failures of the last 50 years”, according Lord Bob Kerslake (right), who has been appointed Chairman of a new commission set up to help boost the supply of affordable homes in the capital.

mark-clare-barratt-homesLord Bob Kerslake, the former head of the civil service and existing Chairman of Peabody, will, along with Terrie Alafat, Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) head up the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) commission, which will also be joined by Mark Clare (left), the outgoing Chief Executive of Barratt Homes, Nick Walkley, Chief Executive of Haringey Council and Professor Rebecca Tunstall of the University of York.

Lord Kerslake said the lack of housing in London, particularly affordable properties, may deter many firms from relocating to the capital, while many couples are being forced to delay having children.

“This is one of the defining challenges for London,” he said. “It puts at risk London’s global status because if it becomes increasingly too expensive to live in London, why would businesses come here?”

property-shortage-east-londThe new Commission on Affordable Housing in London, set up by the IPPR think tank, is now aiming to come up with some major new solutions to help significantly increase the supply of new homes and prevent property prices in the city, which now average almost £500,000, from spiralling out of control.

“Our inability to build enough homes to meet the country’s needs is one of the biggest public policy failures over 50 years,” he told the press last week. “It is a failure across the country – but it is a very acute failure in London. There’s no question that London will lose out in competitiveness with other places.”

“We know London needs at least 50,000 homes a year just to keep pace with demand. If you want to bring prices down you would have to go even further,” he added.

The commission will report early next year, with a view to influencing the candidates in next year’s Mayor of London election, to ensure that they place housing at the top of their agenda.

nick-pearce-ipprNick Pearce (left), Director at IPPR, commented, “Housing policy will dominate next year’s London Mayoral elections, as it should. The purpose of this commission is to put forward an ambitious agenda for building the homes London needs, which an incoming mayor can immediately act upon.”

June 25, 2015

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